As part of the continued focus on the Royal Oak’s 50th birthday, Audemars Piguet recently announced a brand-new collaboration based on the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 Ceramic Carolina Bucci. Designed in partnership with Carolina Bucci, the aptly-named Royal Oak Selfwinding Carolina Bucci Limited Edition offers up a vibrant, almost electric rainbow sapphire dial that flows across the spectrum of color while retaining a simplified elemental take on AP’s signature Tapisserie dial.
This is the third Royal Oak that has been produced in collaboration with Bucci. Inspired by an urban landscape, the rainbow effect is achieved by using a sapphire dial set with tiny patterned squares that sit atop a brass dial plate. The dial has a mirror finish and the color patterning varies for each dial, so every watch in the 300-piece edition is unique.
In a quote provided by Audemars Piguet, Bucci says, “I wanted to place a rainbow in the most unexpected of places, a little like when you see oil floating on a puddle in a city street … So here you have every color of the spectrum on a canvas that is completely black, which is itself the absence of color.” That oily iridescence is matched by the dark black ceramic and pink gold accents for the dial furniture, handset, and bezel screws.
Underneath the dial that carries the full brand signature (that has been filled with white lacquer), a date at three, and little else besides that range of glowing color, we find AP’s Caliber 5800. Ticking at 4 Hz and offering a 50-hour power reserve, the 5800’s 22k pink gold rotor can be viewed through the titanium and sapphire display caseback.
Tossing the Royal Oak’s core stoicism to the side, this 34mm black ceramic is a fascinating mix between the stark slickness of the ceramic case and its pink gold accents and the eye-catching, almost surprising play of the color, reflection, and patterning of the dial.
I think this collaboration makes the most of a new dial by rethinking not only the colorspace of the dial (or lack thereof) but also the texture of the dial. I really like the way they’ve retained the loose parameters of the Tapisserie design while entirely rethinking every other aspect. The result looks special, exciting, and even manages to look unique despite its anchoring to the well-known and often sedentary format of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 Ceramic Carolina Bucci.